America’s youth can hack it

  • Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Students learn from teachers. But teachers also learn from students.

And a fresh example of educators being educated by their pupils comes from the Los Angeles Unified School District.

According to Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times, the district, in a wide-ranging, $1 billion program, recently issued students iPads with security systems aimed at limiting them to school-related use.

But as Wednesday’s Times reported, “It took exactly one week for nearly 300 students at Theodore Roosevelt High School to hack through” that barrier “so they could surf the Web.”

Many students at other schools also made short work of the supposedly solid lock on the tablet computers.

After learning of that breakthrough, two senior district administrators wrote in a memo to the Board of Education and Superintendent Jon Deasy: “Outside of the district’s network ... a user is free to download content and applications and browse the Internet without restriction. As student safety is of paramount concern, breach of the ... system must not occur.”

And as the Times reported:

“Roosevelt students matter-of-factly explained their technique Tuesday outside school. The trick, they said, was to delete their personal profile information. With the profile deleted, a student was free to surf. Soon they were sending tweets, socializing on Facebook and streaming music through Pandora, they said.”

The lesson for our online times: Regardless of legitimate concerns about young Americans’ academic performances, you shouldn’t underestimate their computer skills.

You also shouldn’t overestimate the reliability of cyber “security.”

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